Report shows sharp increase in some Minnesota STD rates
A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows significant increases in the rates of some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from 2012 to 2013. While the state's overall STD rate increased 10 percent, the increases were much higher for syphilis (up 64 percent) and gonorrhea (up 26 percent).
"Untreated STDs can have serious health consequences," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "Testing, diagnosing and treating these diseases in their early stages will prevent long-term health problems and slow their spread. Since most STDs don't show symptoms, it's important for sexually active people to get tested each year or when involved with a new partner."
Reportable STDs in Minnesota include chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. There were 23,133 cases reported in Minnesota in 2013, compared to 21,465 in 2012 and 19,547 in 2011. Key findings within the report include:
• Chlamydia (up 4 percent) is the number one reported infectious disease in the state, and it reached a new high of 18,724 cases in 2013 compared to 18,048 in 2012. The majority of cases occurred in teens and young adults within the ages of 15 to 24. Nearly one in three cases occurred in greater Minnesota.
• Gonorrhea (up 26 percent) remains the second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota, with 3,872 cases reported in 2013 compared to 3,082 in 2012. Fifty-eight percent of all gonorrhea cases occurred among the 15- to 24-year-old age group and 80 percent of cases occurred in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
• Primary and secondary syphilis cases (up 64 percent) are also a problem, with 193 cases in 2013 compared to 118 in 2012. New infections continued to be centered in the Twin Cities area and among males, particularly men who have sex with men (MSM). The rate of MSM co-infected with syphilis and HIV was 46 percent. There also was an increase in early syphilis cases among women in 2013, with 30 cases in 2013 compared to 18 in 2012.
The MDH report also shows higher infection rates for chlamydia and gonorrhea among communities of color and American Indians when compared to whites. Increases in syphilis infection rates were seen among African-American, Asian and white MSM.
"These disparities exist among populations that have the fewest opportunities to access prevention programs and testing due to social, medical and/or income disadvantages," Commissioner Ehlinger said. "We need to expand our partnerships with our most impacted communities to ensure these services are available and being used."
The report is available on the MDH website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/std. According to Dr. Ed Ehlinger, Minnesota Commissioner of Health, the increased STD rates documented in the report underscore the importance of prevention, testing, and awareness.